'It's time women play five-set matches'Comment on this story
London - Judy Murray has said it is time for women’s Grand Slam finals to be extended to five sets.
Her call came after Petra Kvitova took only 55 minutes to win her second Wimbledon title on Saturday after one of the finest displays ever seen in a final at the All England Club.
But Murray, the Great Britain Fed Cup captain, said: ‘There is no reason why women can’t play best of five sets. When you have a big showcase like a Slam final, there is a case to be made for it being best of five sets.
‘But it probably shouldn’t just be best of five sets in the final - I think you would need to do it in the semi-final as well, so there is a run into it.
‘After watching the final on Saturday when it was over so quickly, you got that sense that maybe it would have given Bouchard a little more time to settle into the match and also to see whether Kvitova could have held her level for longer.
‘The time is probably coming for best of five sets in semis and finals in the slams for women to be considered.’
Kvitova’s 6-3, 6-0 victory over Canadian 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard should have been a privilege for those in attendance to witness.
This was a player stepping up and producing her best when it mattered most, hitting 28 winners in a relentless show of power and aggression to which her opponent had no answer.
But some spectators paying £124 for a Centre Court ticket may have left around an hour or so after the start feeling a little short-changed.
In fact, at this year’s Championships - for the first time at a Grand Slam since the 2009 US Open - all the matches in the women’s draw from the quarter-finals onwards were completed in straight sets.
The inevitable remarks about equal prize money followed on social media just moments after Kvitova had fallen to the turf on her back in celebration on Saturday.
The comments came again on Sunday as some made reference to the fact that the first set of the men’s final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic was only four minutes shorter than the whole of the women’s final.
Whatever your stance on the issue, equal prize money is here to stay.
In 2007, Wimbledon was the last of the four Grand Slams to award equal pay to men and women and it will never again be anything other.
It is worth pointing out that there is no difference in the various costs which come with travelling on the ATP and WTA tours.
‘This is the modern day,’ said former British No 1 Anne Keothavong.
‘Should we really still be debating whether women should receive equal prize money? I don’t even think there should be an argument about it any more.
‘Petra Kvitova played an awesome final. Even if that match had been best of five sets, she could have potentially won it in less than an hour-and-a-half.
‘I would have been more than happy to play best of five sets and I think the majority of the girls would, too.’
For all the debate about prize money, it is ironic that 24-year-old Kvitova does not care too much for the stuff.
The cheque of £1.76million may come in handy for the house she is planning to build for her parents in the Czech Republic.
But what meant more to her was winning the Venus Rosewater Dish, a perfect early present for her tearful dad Jiri who celebrated his birthday on Sunday.
‘I’m not really interested in the money,’ said Kvitova. ‘It’s not my job. I have a manager for that. I know that I can buy anything but this trophy I can’t buy.
‘My dad was coaching me until I was 16 and everything that you saw during this tournament is for him. He spent a lot of time with me so I think that this is the best present I can give him.’
Here are some stats:
Only two of the 15 (13%) women’s matches from the fourth round to the final went to three sets - Angelique Kerber’s win over Maria Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki’s victory over Yaroslava Shvedova. The rest were all won in straight sets.
By comparison, seven of the 15 (47%) men’s matches from the fourth round to the final went beyond three sets.
Kvitova spent just three hours and 43 minutes on court in her quarter-final, semi-final and final. Novak Djokovic played for 10 hours and 16 minutes in his last three games.